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The brilliant innovations that have defined Newey’s F1 career

To understand how Adrian Newey possesses a level of technical knowledge unmatched in the current era of Formula 1, it is a good idea to take a look back at the Briton’s career to analyze not only the winning cars he designed but also the innovations within them. within them.

Newey’s unique quality is his general knowledge of the car. He doesn’t see it simply at an aerodynamic level, but he has a deep knowledge of the mechanics at the transmission and suspension level.

It is no coincidence that Newey achieved his first successes in F1 with Williams, a renowned team in which Adrian, from March Leyton House, formed a counterpoint to the pragmatic character of Patrick Head, less accustomed to innovation but extremely capable of designing simple designs. but effective single-seaters.

After a difficult 1991 in which the FW14 Renault proved to be very fast but incredibly fragile (it was the first Williams with a semi-automatic gearbox), the sophisticated FW14B dominated by adopting active suspensions that allowed it to maintain a constant ride height that allowed maximum load. aerodynamics to extract. As a result, Nigel Mansell dominated the 1992 world championship with nine victories.

In detail, the suspensions were characterized by hydraulic actuators placed on the upper part of the push rods, which varied the extension of the cylinders inside them by means of solenoid valves operated by an electronic control unit.

Active suspension and four-wheel steering.

By 1993, as aerodynamic development continued, the Williams FW15 was arguably the most technically advanced F1 car ever made. Unlike the previous car, the 1993 car was designed from the beginning for active suspension, which allowed Newey to clean up the aerodynamics, significantly reducing the front section.

It was equipped with ABS and fly-by-wire, traction control and a two-way telemetry system. The active suspension could be adjusted so that the diffuser stopped in a straight line, a concept that Newey later revived from 2018 to 2021 at Red Bull.

In 1998 Newey moved to McLaren and created the MP4-13, managing to produce a particularly compact car with a low center of gravity to minimize the effects of load transfers.

In addition, Newey had also introduced “four-wheel steering” with an asymmetric braking system (selective braking), using a fourth pedal added to the pedal set, which acted only on the rear wheels; However, it was abandoned when it was declared illegal. later in the season.

Newey, after moving to Red Bull in 2006, won the first title for the Milton Keynes-based team with Sebastian Vettel in 2010 before taking three more titles in a row. The RB7 won in 2011 thanks to a precise choice by Newey. He chose not to adopt the KERS system, which was considered unreliable, but instead took advantage of the exhausts passing through the diffuser, which allowed very high downforce to be generated from the floor of the car.

© Photo4

© Photo4

the modern era

Since 2019, with the switch to Honda engines, Red Bull has become progressively more competitive, increasingly threatening Mercedes’ dominance that began in 2014 but especially in 2021 with the RB16B, an evolution of the car it competed with in 2020. .

The RB16B brought the tuning to the concept of extreme rake, which Newey has always considered relevant in its cars since the exhausts that featured and made the RB7 unbeatable were banned in 2011. The RB16B proved to be extremely effective, especially in high-speed corners. speed, with performance in those sections unmatched by the competition.

The last technical chapter refers to ground effect cars starting with the RB18 of 2022, followed by the RB19 of 2023 and the current RB20. Three cars, composed of a strong conceptual continuity, developed in every detail.

The three represent the reference point in terms of the configuration of the floor and the section of the pontoons.

This season’s RB20 takes this last element to the extreme thanks to the packaging of the innovative cooling system, arranged in four separate levels. While it is an engineering masterpiece, Newey believes it can be refined further.

Williams FW14B – 1992

In this car the active suspension system designed by Newey made its debut (previously Lotus adopted a less advanced system based on an inertial platform in 1987) effectively marking a technological turning point (before they were banned by the FIA ​​in the late 2000s). 1993) on the management of vehicle dynamics linked to aerodynamics.

Red Bull RB7 2011

The exhaust pipes, placed at the bottom of the car, in front of the rear wheels, to dynamize the flow directed to the lateral section of the rear diffuser, represent the peculiar and extreme characteristic of the RB7, with which Vettel won his second title.

Red Bull RB16B

It was the car that precedes the ground effect Challenger that will be presented in 2022. Verstappen, with the RB16B, obtains his first world title, but beyond the Abu Dhabi drama, for two thirds of the season he kept Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes. at a safe distance, proving to be a car characterized by a load generated by a very high bottom, unattainable in high-speed corners.